Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Backyard Beautification

At the beginning of Spring I started writing a To-Do list of household projects that need to get done. My goal was to have the outdoor work done by Summer. But, with 3 kids and Hubby picking up extra hours at work, it didn't look likely. Especially since I like to write the list but have Hubby actually do the projects. But, the more I looked at the list the more I realized I actually have many of the skills necessary to complete the projects on my own, so I decided to tackle one thing at a time. Hubby thought this was insane and asked if I knew how to do half of the stuff I was planning to accomplish. I was happy to tell him that yes, indeed I do. During my years of Campus Ministry I had opportunities to organize Service Weeks. That meant taking a group of college students and traveling to different places to help renovate urban communities. I was blessed to have The Franciscan Friars to work with and Br. Duffy was fantastic at putting together meaningful service projects. We would go to Catholic Worker Houses, homeless shelters, schools, etc. and scrub, paint, garden and whatever else needed to be done until the places we visited looked better than when we arrived. I figured why waste all those years of experience when my own yard so desperately needs a "beautification." Although it would have been nice to have a college group come over to do the work for us, LOL!!

Now that the Princess has been sleeping slightly better I have had a bit more energy and feel like I am less "foggy" and "post-partum-ish." So one day I put the kids down for their naps and picked up a paint brush and started. The first 2 days I re-stained our back stairs, lattice around the front porch and a picnic table. They look gorgeous, like new!! I felt so productive and energized that I couldn't wait to keep going.

The biggest thing I wanted fixed was our brick patio. The bricks had dulled so much I thought they looked more like dirt. I wanted to brighten the color and get them looking new again. When I told Hubby and my Dad the plan to stain the bricks they thought I had lost my mind. Both argued with me on separate occasions that it couldn't be done, wasn't a good idea, etc. Needless to say my Dad bought me a can of Brick Red stain and they both held their breath waiting to see what would happen. I am pleased to announce that the bricks are BEAUTIFUL!!
The color is so vibrant! It gave the yard a whole new look. And the painting of each brick was therapeutic. It took quite awhile. A few of the hours I painted while the kids napped and as I painted I pondered life. Then I painted while the kids sat inches away staring at me and pleading to help. I told them they couldn't step one toe onto the bricks because the paint was wet, so they literally stood with their toes up against the edge of the bricks. The Princess sat in her stroller and watched. And when she got fussy her big brothers took turns pushing her around the yard. Their turn taking didn't always go smoothly and I had to do a bit of directing, but I was able to complete the task and that felt pretty darn good!

Next, I moved on to painting the exterior of our back porch. It was an addition to the house put on before we lived here. The wood was never painted so it doesn't match the white of the rest of the house and it makes me crazy to look at it. Even worse is last year Hubby started the job of priming it for paint, but he only did 2 of the 3 sides. So looking at that one side still unpainted was awful!! The day I worked on that particular project, the Princess was not content in her stroller and I was determined to finish as much of it as I could. So I put her in a pack on my back and on we went. Working with my daughter was a wonderful experience!! She loves being carried in the pack so she nestled right in. And on my back she doesn't feel as heavy so I am able to carry her for a long time without it interfering with painting or hurting all of my muscles! I was able to finish painting the 2 primed sides and then I primed the 3rd side. But, it has rained a lot since so I will hopefully do the rest tomorrow. I have heard a good weather report and I am really looking forward to finishing that up so I can check it off the list, LOL!!

In the meantime I have been working on trimming gardens and Hubby has started to mulch, which always helps things look refreshed! I even had Stregga helping out, give that woman a hedge clipper and some time and she means business!! The back yard trees and bushes have never looked better!

So, its small steps, but its getting there. Still lots to do, but each little step is making a big difference!! And I feel renewed as well!!


  1. Now we just have to find some time in between potty training, parks, the circus and the our beach and Quassy days to finish!

  2. So true!! I just want to get back to beautifying, LOL!!